A second case of locally acquired Dengue Fever was identified today. With others likely, the Palm Beach County Health Department is raising the status level for mosquito borne-illness to an ALERT.
“We have been closely monitoring the county for the possibility of Dengue. The second case is good evidence that it is becoming established here and all should be on the alert to prevent mosquitoes from biting,” said Health Department Director Alina Alonso, MD as she raised the status of the disease from an advisory to an alert.
Dengue is carried by a mosquito that leaves its eggs generally around a home or building in standing water as small as a thimble. The alert encourages all to drain any and all standing water from around the home or business. All are also advised to cover their windows with screens in good condition, use air conditioning when possible and cover themselves with light weight long sleeve clothing and pants. Insect repellants containing DEET or picaridin are also effective in preventing mosquitoes from biting.
Classic dengue fever is characterized by acute onset of high fever, 3-14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. Patients develop high fevers, severe headache, muscle and bone aches, rash, severe pain behind the eyes and mild bleeding from the nose or gums. Acute symptoms, when present, usually last about 1 week, but weakness, malaise, and anorexia may persist for several weeks. Treatment emphasizes relief of symptoms, avoiding aspirin and other non steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and drinking plenty of fluids. Severe manifestations (e.g., dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome) are rare but may be fatal.
Mosquito control is continuing its abatement program throughout the county.
Persons experiencing symptoms should see their medical provider or if severe visit the nearest hospital or clinic. The Palm Beach County Health Department has six Health Centers located from Delray Beach to Jupiter and west in Belle Glade.
Further information can be obtained by visiting the Department of Health Website at www.doh.state.fl.us, or the Palm Beach County Health Department site at www.pbchd.com.
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